Archive for October 2006

22 March 2001

Q5 Alison Halford: What progress has been made to give Assembly Members access to the Parliamentary intranet service? (OAQ10462)) The Deputy Presiding Officer: The National Assembly, the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly are in discussion with the House of Commons about securing limited access to their intranet. Arrangements are being sought that would allow controlled access to certain services that will be provided by the library. Alison Halford: Your own long and distinguished service as a Member of Parliament puts you in a strong position to judge whether the Parliamentary intranet has something to offer the National Assembly. It is suggested that the MPs system gives up to date briefings on major national issues, a greater number of press resources and would enable all Assembly Members to respond to Welsh parliamentary matters in a more timely manner. Will you pursue the need for Assembly Members to have greater access soon to the Parliamentary system? The Deputy Presiding Officer: We are trying to do that. However, I urge caution. POLIS is available as a stand-alone system in the library, but any further access via OSIRIS is unlikely. The House of Commons authorities are rightly concerned about security. Opening up …..

22 March 2001

Q20, Alison Halford: What actions has the Minister taken to combat social exclusion in our schools, particularly in north Wales? (OAQ10471). Jane Davidson: The White Paper, ‘Building Excellent Schools Together’, emphasised the need to tackle under-achievement and social exclusion with children who have behavioural difficulties or are disaffected. Disaffected pupils who may be truanting or who are at risk of being excluded from school are more likely to become socially excluded. The prospects for such children are poor. Research shows that they may become engaged in risk-taking behaviour, such as substance and alcohol abuse, and are more likely to become involved in criminal activity in later life. That is why we support efforts to reduce absence and exclusion from school. In ‘’ the Assembly has set targets of reducing unauthorised absences and permanent exclusions by a third by 2004. In order to assist with achieving those targets, the National Assembly has issued guidance under Circular 3/99, ‘Pupil Support and Social Inclusion’, which sets out a range of school-based actions to address pupil disaffection and to challenge behavioural difficulties. In addition, all local education authorities have behavioural support plans to help schools to deal with children with behavioural difficulties who are …..

22 March 2001

Q15 Alison Halford: What actions has the Minister taken to combat the rise in truancy in schools in Wales? (OAQ10449) Jane Davidson: Under ‘’ we have set targets of reducing unauthorised absences from school by one third by 2004. That target is supported by funding from the grants for education support and training programme, and £3 million was allocated to activity 19, school attendance and behaviour, in 2000-01. Within an overall increase in GEST resources, £9.86 million has been made available for tackling social disadvantage for 2001-02. It will be for local authorities to decide how much of this is spent on school attendance and behaviour difficulties. Local education authorities have been invited to submit bids that demonstrate working through the Education Welfare Service in promoting school-based action to tackle attendance and behaviour difficulties, including truancy. Guidance in tackling the issues surrounding school disaffection has been brought together in National Assembly Circular 3/99, ‘Pupil Support and Social Inclusion’. The circular contains practical advice for schools and LEAs on preventative actions aimed at reducing truancy. Schools are asked to concentrate on early intervention, including first day contact with parents and establishing good working relationships with the Education Welfare Service and the …..

Delyn Constituency Information

Alison served as the Assembly Member for Delyn from the inception of the National Assembly for Wales in 1999 until May 2003. In the inaugural elections for the Assembly. Delyn presented a unique contest between four women candidates. Alison Halford was elected to the National Assembly for Delyn and for Labour with the Conservative, Karen Lumley, in second place. On a 44% turnout, 44.7% (10,672) cast their vote for Alison, more than double the votes of her nearest contender. That measure of support for Alison continued throughout her term of office. Not a career politician by choice, Alison had said from the beginning of her term of office that she would not seek re-election and remained true to that position.   The structures and procedures for the Assembly are laid down in the Government of Wales Act 1998 and more detailed processes are set out in the Assembly Standing Orders. For more information, visit the National Assembly Website.   This allows everyone access to a full record of Assembly dealings in plenary and committee sessions including agendas, minutes, associated papers, etc. Members biographies and interests are presented. Questions asked and answers given are recorded.   Alison Halford as Assembly Member …..

22 March 2001

Q1 Alison Halford: Will the Minister for Health and Social Services make a statement about the provision of aftercare for children who are in the care of local authorities in north Wales? (OAQ10456)The Minister for Health and Social Services (Jane Hutt): The Waterhouse report identified serious deficiencies in the arrangements for young people leaving care in north Wales. The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 tackles these failings. New duties on all local authorities in respect of the care and support of 16 and 17-year-olds who are looked after, and of care leavers, will come into force on 1 October this year. The National Assembly will make regulations and issue guidance in July. Additional resources will be made available to local authorities through the Children First programme to support the new arrangements. Alison Halford: That is most helpful. Paragraph 19 of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee’s report on social exclusion mentions the need for mentoring schemes to be undertaken by local authorities. Do you have any plans to encourage local authorities to implement the mentoring schemes as discussed in the report? Jane Hutt: That was a useful part of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee’s report. The Waterhouse report identified serious failings …..

20 March 2001

Q3 Alison Halford: Will the First Minister make a statement on his visit to Mostyn docks on 9 March? (OAQ10407)The First Minister: It was an instructive visit for several reasons. From September this year, P&O Ferries will install its fifth ferry port connection between Wales and Ireland, which is mostly for freight, but which has some provision for passenger and car transport. Mostyn Docks Limited is currently in negotiation with British Aerospace to be the transhipment point for the A380 wings. Transporting those enormous wings from a factory in Broughton to the final assembly point in Toulouse—without dropping and damaging them because they are incredibly valuable—will be one of the great logistical feats of twenty-first century European industrial history. We think that they will be transported by barge from Connah’s Quay to Mostyn, transhipped from there to Bordeaux docks and then transported onwards through France. The rail freight terminal at Mostyn has the potential to be the north Wales equivalent of the Euro-freight terminal at Wentloog, which is half way between Cardiff and Newport. Alison Halford: I do not wish to strike a discordant note, but are you aware that North Wales Police is insisting on a full-scale, highly-equipped anti-terrorist …..

15 March 2001

Q1 Alison Halford: Does the Minister intend to review the Assembly’s approach to risk management strategies to take on board the recommendations in the recent National Audit Office report on the Cardiff Bay Barrage? (OAQ10313)The Minister for Finance, Local Government and Communities (Edwina Hart): The Cabinet has carefully considered the Audit Committee’s report on the Cardiff Bay Barrage, which was published on 15 February 2001, and, under Standing Order No. 12, has responded to the Committee today. The Cabinet response will be available on the intranet and it will be for the Audit Committee to consider the full response. On the general issue of risk management, following the issue of the Turnbull report, the Parliament in England and the devolved administrations are committed to the development of risk management strategies by 31 March 2003 at the latest. Alison Halford: As the report indicates, the present in-house system of financing such large-scale projects as the Wales Millennium Centre does not give us sufficient guarantee of staying within budget and on time. Will you urgently consider an alternative, such as employing expert private firms with proven track records, to save millions of taxpayers’ money? Edwina Hart: I will answer your question in …..

Leeks from the Back Benches

A near casualty who came back to fight another day was John Marek, the former MP who snatched the plum job of Deputy Presiding Officer from the Labour choice of candidate; Rosemary Butler. He won the post by a single vote and for his pains, became the victim of his party who turned against him, preferring his former secretary to stand in his Wrexham constituncy. She lost. John won. A solid victory for justice.[download#2] This book also gives a clear insight into how a Police Authority operates and how that body charged with the task of ensuring that North Wales Police force was both effective and efficient, saw off its own Head of Legal Services in a shocking manner. She was suspended for almost two years and her Police Authority was obliged to settle with her in August 2002. It all started in early 1999, when she had been sent a damning memo by a very senior officer, which took most of her job away from her. Her sin? She sent the Police Authority an important report, failing to realise that the usual chief officers’ ‘red pen treatment’ had not been applied to a report on how civil actions against …..